A group of children exploring a mystical landscape stumble upon ancient ruins and come across a ball of light. They touch it, not knowing of the consequences that may be at hand. Immediately, lights portraying historic animals and ancient artifacts are flying in the air. A white tiger appears, giving the children a stern, yet welcoming look. The children follow the white tiger into the dark. The screen goes black. The stadium is black and out walks a white tiger; portrayed by men holding up pieces of white plastic that make up its body. The children follow closely behind.
The opening ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea held on Friday was a spiritual and historical event. The symbolic white tiger ran playfully with children atop of a stage with a large platform, beneath which casted colorful designs. The children and white lion eventually transported themselves from a snowy white location, to the top of Paektu Mountain.
More animals played by people emerged on the stage and the music flourished. Dancers then lit up the stage with their traditional dance, song, and attire.
On the digital stage, the symbols of yin and yang were illuminated, representing the idea of balance and harmony among the people and animals that is very important to the people of South Korea. The performances in their entirety were representative of how the people believe they connect with their land. Although, not everything the viewers saw on TV was visible during the actual ceremony. Officials added the effects through technology later on; as an NBC reporter announced to us viewers. With the digital stage, movements of the performers needed to be exactly on time, which is why this ceremony took two and a half years to create.
Moving forward from the yin and yang, the stage moved to a starry sky, giving homage to the Koreans who first marked the skies. This represented the ancient people trying to mark in the stars where they were in relation to others in the galaxy.
After the stars, the President of the Olympic Committee and the President of the Republic of Korea make their entrance into the stadium. Also in attendance at the opening ceremony is the sister of the current ruler of North Korea; Kim Yo Jong. This is the first time since 1953 that a member of the ruling family of North Korea has come to the South. Mike Pence is also present at the opening ceremony, and his guest of honor is the father of a 17-year-old boy who North Korea officials captured and imprisoned. The boy was recently returned in critical condition and passed away in a coma. It is clear that this opening ceremony is not only historic and vibrant with passion for the Korean culture, but political as well.
The Parade of Nations made its way around the stage with Greece following tradition and leading all countries. Also continuing tradition, countries walked in alphabetical order using Hangul, the Korean alphabet.
Athlete representation was different and historic for some as Russian athletes entered as country-neutral at the winter games this year. This comes after the state-sponsored doping scandal back from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. North and South Korean athletes walked into the stadium in unison. The spirit was heard and felt throughout the stadium, even more so after the President of the Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, gave an encouraging speech.
After raising the Olympic flag, joint Korean women’s hockey team players Chung Su-hyon of North Korea, and Park Jong-ah of South Korea, climbed the white stairs of the cauldron to pass on the torch to South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim. After a small routine, Kim lit the cauldron and signaled the start of the 24th Winter Olympic Games. You can view the remaining events on NBC on TV and online.